The Destructive Power of Wealth

“Whether we examine our political or our business methods, our press, our theatre, or our social life, we find the same giddiness and superficiality, — a sort of supernormal love of the excitements of the moment. The proofs of our strangely depleted mental condition and of its cause lie on all sides, and every road leads to them. To-day we in America are passing through an access, a tornado, a frenzy of prosperity. Can we survive it? Shall we be rescued by some timely difficulties that create a wholesome moral pressure; or shall we lose all the strong, manly qualities that blessed our origins, and go under, as so many nations have done, through the influence of pride, luxury, and comfort? The danger that faces the Republic arises, as we all know, from the destructive power of wealth. Almost all the degradations that we see in the United States can be traced to the influence of prosperity.” (John Jay Chapman, 1926, The New Dawn in Education)